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Aubree Wright

0 · 655 views · located in New York

a character in “A New York Life”, as played by Sophiex

Description

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Name:
Aubree Desiree Wright

Nickname:
Bree

Age:
25

Birthday:
November 1st

Hometown:
South Bronx, NY

Sexuality:
Bisexual

Occupation:
Bartender
"Pouring drinks gives me enough money for rent, but you best believe, bitch, that I'm getting my hair done every week on your man's dollar."



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Anyone who knows Aubree well will tell you that she's a crazy bitch. Those who still like her will tell you that she's a crazy bitch, but one who's endearing and fun enough, that the crazy is something they're willing to accept. She's the kind of girl who's willing to go out all night with, party until the sun comes up, and make sure that your man knows that he really fucked up after you find out that he's cheated on you. She's that girl who will literally cut a bitch for her friends, and though a lot of it is because that she actually is loyal to those who she treasures, it's also somewhat because she just likes drama. "Likes" is probably an understatement, really. Aubree thrives on drama. She loves stirring the pot, creating rumors and drama out of nothing, and watching other people's relationships, romantic or platonic, fall apart. It's sick, it really is, and she knows it, but for some reason, she just thinks that it's fun. Maybe it's because she has very few relationships that are long-term. She has a couple of friends who have been with her since childhood, but more frequently than she's gaining them, Aubree's losing them. She has no one to blame other than herself, and a lot of that is because of her incessant need for drama. If you aren't someone who she's very close with, you're essentially disposable in her eyes, though she won't act that way until she's fucked you over, and you try to confront her about it. There are some relationships that she values, and others that she values, until they're no longer useful to her. She would love to tell you that she's great at playing people, and to an extent, it's true, but on a more personal level, she's well aware that she usually ends up playing herself. She's a social person, innately, so being programmed to always feel the need to destroy perfectly good friendships ends up screwing her over, more than anyone else.

With this in mind, it's hard to believe that her appreciation of drama is enough to allow her to be so okay with being the own reason for the demise of so many promising friendships. There has to be something else that's convincing her that she doesn't need people... and that has a lot to do with her upbringing. She grew up in a very tumultuous environment where women were treated like garbage, and the moment they were no longer useful to their man, they were tossed aside in favor of the next bitch in line. It wasn't a happy environment to grow up in, but it taught Aubree that she couldn't, and shouldn't, rely on anyone. Though it would have been great if she could have walked out of that childhood and applied that to her life in a financial aspect, b being motivated to go to school, get a degree, and get a real job that could allow her a steady life, without the support of any man, she only took it with her in an emotional sense. She didn't need anyone to love her, because even if they claimed they did now, they would leave her once they found someone better. Rather than wait for that, and deal with the heartbreak of rejection, she would hold that power over people. She would convince people that they could trust her, and that she loved them, and then right when they believed it, she would do something that seemed completely out of character, and shatter that trust in one act, to remind them that she didn't need them. She's very guarded, in that sense, but it's not something that people would easily describe her as, because she maintains a very open book front, despite it being a very surface level version of openness.

In terms of her actions, she's sometimes very calculated, and other times, very reckless and impulsive. How it usually goes, is that she'll do something reckless and impulsively out of a quick emotional response, and then will be forced into becoming more calculated, in order to maintain control of whatever drama, or situation, she got herself into. She's the kind of person who holds grudges forever, essentially, but expects people to forgive her instantly for any wrongdoing. She likes listening to people talk about themselves, and enjoys being a part of a group, and those feelings of acceptance. She likes giving advice, especially when it comes to some sort of social drama. She's surprisingly good at going from the sweetest girl you ever met, to the coldest bitch you ever met, and she has a tendency to be unnecessarily cruel if she feels like she's being attacked, even in the slightest.



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♥Flirting
♥Straight liquor
♥Drama
♥Money
♥Romance (surprisingly, mostly when it's not involving her)
♥Spring and fall weather
♥Home cooking
✖ Being in the sun for too long
✖ Being dismissed/condescending people
✖ Anyone who's as good at her with instigating drama
✖ Not having the money to support her tastes
✖ Fast food
✖ Sex with the lights on
✖ People that think they know/can read her

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ImageChildhood:
Aubree was the first and only child that her mother had, but one of many that her father had. She was born in the South Bronx of New York City, arguably one of the poorest and most dangerous communities in the nation. Her parents never married and depending on who you asked, were nothing more than "fuck buddies", but her mother lived in her father's house for nearly fifteen years, so she likes to believe that there was something more than just a shared child between them. At the same time, it wasn't like she was blind to how her father treated her mother. It wasn't atypical for many other women to be living in their house at the same time, and everyone knew that Clinton was messing around with every one of them. It was probably because he was essentially the neighborhood's drug lord, that women seemed to flock to him. He offered them a bed and a roof, in exchange for them dealing for him, or cooking product for him. He was the drug-version of a pimp, you could say, but he received the sexual benefits that pimps often exploited from their girls, at their own benefit, as well. To this day, Aubree isn't sure why her mother stood by Clinton even after he became a father to countless other woman's children. She supposes that her mother was just too dependent, emotionally and financially, and she had no other means of surviving without Clinton. Regardless, Aubree grew up their for the first fourteen years of her life, and though her situation at home wasn't the most stimulating environment for a child, she thinks of her childhood as being a happy one. She had friends, did decently in school, and maybe it was because she fit in there, but she never felt unsafe in her neighborhood. She was a normal child, given what normal meant where she was.

When she was fourteen, however, the apartment gained a new pair of females, Holly and her mother. Clinton brought in new women too frequently for anyone to think much of the twenty-year-old and her five-year-old daughter at the time, so needless to say, it caught both Aubree and her mother by surprise when their father kicked them out a few weeks later. Aubree's mother had no education and no job, so she was forced into a women's shelter. After many pleas from her mother, Clinton took Aubree back in, but it was clear that he was doing it "as a favor" and not because he cared about his own child's well being. She only stayed there for two years, before dropping out of high school and moving to Staten Island where her mother had relocated to, upon finding a new boyfriend. Aubree never finished high school, and when she was seventeen, moved out of her mother's place and in with her boyfriend. This became her new norm, as she learned how to work relationships to her benefit. She would find a man who was doing well in the moment, use him for free rent, and sometimes a little more, and then move on to the next once he realized that. She worked sporadically in retail and the food service over the years too, but only started making decent, stable money when she turned twenty-one and got her bar tending license. Even then, she wasn't wealthy by any means, and was barely saving up enough to afford paying for rent in between boyfriends.
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So begins...

Aubree Wright's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Bandit
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Holly did want to carry the box of cookies across the hall, but just as she opened her mouth to agree, she realized that she hadn't put her shoes on yet. The sneakers she had been wearing earlier that day had been kicked off hours ago, when she returned to the apartment to do school work, and despite Makayla telling her multiple times to get ready, she hadn't put them on earlier. "I'm not ready to go! I don't even have my shoes on!"

"Didn't I tell you to put them on like twenty minutes ago?"

"If you did, you must have said it in Spanish or a language that I don't understand."

"Like English?"

"Do you think that Chanel would be angry if I just wore my socks?"

"Please go put shoes on." Makayla knew that Chanel probably wouldn't care either way, and since her apartment was literally across the hall, it probably wouldn't have been a big deal, but she didn't understand why Holly had to make everything so difficult. And then there was also that thought in the back of her mind, that if Cara had somehow been telling the truth, and it was Chanel who was critiquing Makayla's guardianship abilities, then Makayla wanted Holly to actually looked as well taken care of as she was.

"But I don't think Chanel would care. She's so sweet, if you didn't know that. You're sweet too."

"Thanks. Go put on your shoes though, so we can leave." Surprisingly, Holly listened this time, and thankfully, even Brooklyn coming in as Holly was heading out of the kitchen didn't stop her sister from continuing to their bedroom. Makayla nodded to Brooklyn, and was grateful that she didn't actually seem interested in chatting, because a few seconds after she left the apartment, Makayla's phone started ringing. It was from a number that wasn't saved in her contacts, and considering that generally, when she received calls like that, they were from "clients", she ignored it. Thankfully, the job that Brooklyn had hooked her up with had been great so far. On top of not having to pay rent, Makayla was making enough money where prostitution was the last thing on her mind, and something that she was convinced she would never have to go back to. Her plan now was to continue working at the strip club, taking as many hours as they would give her, and save up the money that she would be paying in rent, to either use when Cara retracted her offer, or maybe, if she could miraculously save up enough, to use for when she moved out of the city and got a place of her own. Regardless of what it would be used for, she was beyond happy that for once in her life, she had actually started to accumulate money. She wasn't making so much where money was no longer a concern, and she still wasn't far from being broke, but at least now, she wasn't unable to pay her bills. For the first time, she didn't have to worry to the point of working herself up into anxiety attacks, over money, and knowing that she was making this money legally and safely made it all the better.

She figured that hitting ignore on her phone would be enough for the caller to get the message that she was uninterested, so needless to say, she was surprised when the phone call was followed up with a text message, and even more surprised when she read it. It read, "Kay, it's Aubree. Pick up plz". Aubree was her half-sister, but even being blood related, it wasn't surprising that Makayla didn't have her phone number. For starters, Aubree's number seemed to be changing every other day, or more specifically, with every new boyfriend she got, who was willing to pay her phone bill. Beyond that, though, Makayla wasn't close with her. They grew up together, but even back then, she had always been a bit of a bully towards Makayla. It was always strange, because they were in the same boat, considering that they both shared an abusive father who they were consistently walking on eggshells around, but Aubree strangely, always acted like she was better than Makayla. Their relationship only became more severed when Holly moved in and Makayla felt the need to look out for her, while Aubree seemed to want to do the exact opposite. Once Aubree moved out, Makayla didn't hear from her very frequently. They followed each other on social media, and for the most part, that was the only reason for why Makayla knew what her sister was up to. Occasionally, she would get a text of Facebook message from her asking for a favor, but since Makayla had always been in such a bad financial situation herself, she rarely was able to do what her sister wanted, and after she would say no, she would go months without hearing from her again. That was why Makayla was tempted to ignore the text as well, but as per usual, she couldn't. She knew that she would feel guilty if she did, even though she had no reason to feel that way, and so when Aubree followed up with another phone call, Makayla picked up.

"Hello?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Sophiex
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She knew that it was coming, but Aubree didn't expect for Jordan to find out so soon, that she was cheating on him. She had only begun sleeping with one of his friends a couple of weeks ago, so she was sure that she had at least a month before he found out, at least judging by her past experience with this sort of thing. So, she was definitely caught off guard the night before, when she came home from work around three in the morning, only to find him waiting for her. He spent a good hour pacing back and forth, his hands clamped tightly into fists that occasionally broke out from their spot beside his sides, to punch the wall or slap a lamp or other object off of a nearby table, as he ranted about how horrific she was. "All I've done for the past four months is take care of you. I work nine to five every goddamn day to be the man you want me to be, and this is how you repay me? By being out here like a motherfucking whore, sleeping with my own fucking friends? You know how disrespectful that is? You know what you've done to my fucking name? God dammit, I should really fucking kill you right now." Aubree knew that that threat was idle, though she was taken by surprise that when he grabbed her by the throat when she attempted to defend herself, by falsely claiming that she had only stepped out on him because she heard that he was cheating on her too. Eventually, he left their apartment in a rage, probably because he knew that he actually would put hands on her again, had he stuck around, and he didn't return to the apartment until the next evening, around seven o'clock. This time, he was much calmer, but despite what she expected, he showed her no forgiveness. He let her give him head, acting as if the makeup sex was going to be enough to repair their relationship, but as soon as he finished and was sexually satisfied, he told her to "get the fuck out of his house", and really, she had no option but to do so.

To make her day even worse, not a single one of her "friends" answered their phones when she left his apartment with a backpack and black garbage bag filled with her possessions, and though she knew she had enough money in her bank account for a week's worth of nights in a hotel, she couldn't fathom blowing all of her savings on that. Her last option was one that she wasn't against using, and it was calling her sister, Makayla. She was only her "last option" because Aubree prided herself in being better off than Makayla in every sense of the word, and after finding out that Makayla was broke on many occasions, it seemed futile to even try calling her. However, sitting in a McDonalds at eight at night, the only place where she could charge her phone, with no other place to go, other than to a hotel or homeless shelter, it seemed like it was worth it to give her a call. When she didn't answer, at first, Aubree texted her, and then tried calling again, and by the grace of God, her sister picked up that second time.

Aubree didn't feel bad about asking Makayla for favors, even when they hadn't seen each other in person in at least two years. We're family, she justified it, And I always had her back when we were kids. Whether that was true or not was highly debatable, and more false than true, but she didn't feel bad about holding onto that as her version of reality. Rather than begin the conversation with any sort of "how are you?" or "I can't believe we haven't spoken in so long", Aubree cut straight to the chase. "Makayla, I need somewhere to stay tonight. Please tell me that you're still in the city."

Makayla wasn't shocked by Aubree's request, because it wasn't all that abnormal to her sister's character, but she still liked to think that Aubree was a genuine person. She was troubled, was how Makayla liked to put it, and just as Aubree used the reason as one to exploit, them being family was something that always made Makayla feel guilty about blatantly turning Aubree away. In the past, she had no other option than to tell her sister no, because when she was asking for money or a place to stay, Makayla actually didn't have either to offer to her. Still now, she didn't have a place to allow her to stay. The room in Cara's apartment was big enough for her and Holly, but that was it. Beyond just the physical restraints of the room, she knew that it would be pushing it to ask Cara to let anyone else stay in the apartment, even just for a night, and that was especially true when that someone was Aubree. Her sister had a way with people... sometimes that "way" was a good one, where people would like her without question, but Makayla had learned that that side of Aubree was usually an act, or at least a personality that she could turn off very quickly, and replace with a much less personable one. If Makayla thought that she was different than Cara, than Aubree was basically an alien compared to Cara's type, and she doubted that Cara would approve of her. That pissed her off, but as she had been reminded earlier, there was a time and a place for correcting people, and Makayla just wasn't in a position to do that to Cara right now. "Yeah, I'm in the city... but I'm living with a friend right now, Bree. I'm already over staying my welcome, basically, or else I'd definitely tell you to come."

"Makayla, I'm literally about to spend the night sleeping in a McDonald's booth until I get kicked out," Aubree pleaded, and while that definitely was not part of tonight's plan, she wasn't against a little bit of emotional manipulation to push her case. "Please. Just one night. You know that I wouldn't ask if I had another option. I swear that whoever it is won't even notice that I'm there. I'll leave in the morning before they even wake up. I just need one night somewhere to get my shit together." That part wasn't as much of a lie, because she actually didn't plan on spending more than a day... or two... with Makayla's connection. She was sure that she had other connections that she could tap into, but she just needed time to get into contact with them.

Makayla knew that she was an idiot for letting Aubree play with her conscience like this, but it genuinely made her feel conflicted as Aubree nearly begged her to give her shelter for a night. Holly had reemerged from their bedroom now, and Makayla quickly brought a finger to her lip to signal to Holly to be quiet for the moment. "I... Bree... I really..." She wanted to say no, she knew that she needed to say no, but something in her made it impossible to turn her sister away now. "You can't let my roommates find out that you're here." Aubree's appreciation following that made Makayla feel like she had made the right choice, and since she was taking a subway from Harlem, Makayla knew that she had at least forty-five minutes to an hour, to socialize across the hall before she had to worry about sneaking Aubrey up. When she hung up, she decided not to mention it to Holly, even though she doubted she could get away with that. "Let's go, we don't want to be late," she said, taking the box of cookies herself now, as she led Holly out of the apartment.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Sophiex
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Being kicked out of any apartment that you had been over staying your welcome at was embarrassing and disheartening to begin with, but it was even worse when it was done on Christmas Eve, and by the girlfriend of the man you had been sleeping with for two weeks, who you had been reassured was an ex-girlfriend. Had Aubree had a few days notice, like she usually had when she could feel the relationships between her and a man growing sour for their own reasons, she could have planned for a new place to stay. Started liking some old friends pictures on Facebook, told her that she was going to be back in the neighborhood and that they needed to catch up and get drinks, and then invited herself to spend the night. She had the routine worked out well by now, that it rarely ever failed. Tonight she didn't have that option though, and considering that she was already in Manhattan, the first option that she thought of, and probably the only one she had, at this point, was crashing at her sister's place. After she had convinced Makayla to let her spend the night a few weeks back, Aubree didn't think it would be difficult to do again. She had done everything correctly last time: she had been cordial to both of the blonde bitches who acted like they ruled the place, and she had restrained herself from smacking the shit out of Holly every time she opened her mouth. Aubree was sure that her sister would let her stay once more, especially given that it was a holiday.

Makayla didn't answer any of her texts or calls, but Aubree was already en route to her apartment building in the West Village regardless. She had the address saved thanks to the message that Makayla had sent her earlier that month, and that was all that she needed. She knew that her half-sister and Holly didn't have any other family, so they wouldn't be out of town visiting anyone. Aubree was so dismissive of her sister, that she was confident that Makayla didn't even have any friends whom she would be spending the holiday with, out of the building. She was sure that she would be home, though it was possible that that level of confidence was founded on the mere fact that if she was wrong, she was screwed, and she didn't want to crumble into an emotional mess in the middle of the crowded subway car, at the thought of being homeless, on Christmas Eve nonetheless. Aubree had been in this state many times, where she had no place to call home...but she wasn't homeless to the extent that the scruffy guy sitting on the corner, with a heart wrenching messages scrawled out on a piece of cardboard was. She always had options, even if she was pushing it by utilizing those options. Since becoming an adult, she never had to sleep in a homeless shelter, and she never spent a night on the streets. Somehow, she always found a way to convince an acquaintance that they were really friends, or a friend, that he was more than just a friend. And if that meant that she had to give more of herself, emotionally and physically, to said people than she wanted to, then so be it. Aubree had convinced herself years ago that she had layers and layers of armor protecting her true self, so if she had to shed some of those pretend layers to survive, it wasn't a big deal.

She didn't have any cell phone service underground, and it took a minute for her phone to adjust to being above ground once she left the subway station nearest to Makayla's building. By the time that she typed out a message to her sister, which took a bit longer than normal, given that her fingers felt stiff and unwilling due to the coldness, she was already approaching the building. While she lacked the code needed to open up the building's front door, she received a tiny Christmas miracle in the form of someone walking inside only a few steps ahead of her. Acting like she was just another tenant of the building, she followed up behind him quickly and got in before the door locked shut. Given that the building had multiple floors, and Aubree didn't look out of the ordinary, it would have been odd for him to have questioned her residency anyway, but she was proud of herself when he went to the extent to apologize for not holding the door for her, because he hadn't seen her. It made her feel like her act was more convincing, even though there wasn't much of an act to put on. She brushed it off, and wished him a merry Christmas when he departed at the third floor, and she continued up until she had reached the fifth. She didn't come with any gifts in hand, and beyond the bag of clothes and a few personal hygiene products on her back, she didn't come with much of anything. Realistically, she wasn't even coming with an invite, but it didn't make Aubree feel any less welcome as she knocked on the door of the apartment that she remembered to be Makayla's. Her sister could try to ignore her texts, but Aubree wasn't going to let her turn her down in person. If it meant embracing her manipulative side very boldly and obviously, she wouldn't have any qualms with that tonight. Not when it was Makayla, who she was doing it to, because for some reason (one that wasn't justified, in the slightest, at that), Aubree felt like Makayla owed her something. She felt like her presence alone should have been enough of a gift to Makayla, and that even though Aubree would acknowledge that she would never go out of her way for the other girl, that that should still be done for her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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"Yeah, I lived in a house with a chimney," she confirmed, her eyes remaining on the television screen as she scrolled through the movies that popped up when she typed "Christmas" isn't the search option. Elf was there, and Brooklyn clicked on it to play, knowing that she would have enough time to answer Holly while the beginning credits and advertisements rolled, before the movie actually begun. "Um, he just brought me toys and clothes and stuff, I guess. I think I got a Barbie Dream House one year, too," she recalled. Her family fell into the middle to upper middle class section, so Christmas was never too strenuous on her parents, and the couple liked being able to give their daughters lots of gifts to open up on Christmas morning. They went all out with the Santa ritual too, leaving partially bitten carrots and cookie crumbs on the plate that would be left out full the night before, leaving ashy boot prints by the fire place, and hand written notes to each of the girls from Santa himself. The requests of her Christmas list were always met, and she never woke up disappointed on Christmas morning. It was nice, and she had become more aware of how lucky she had been to have that growing up, once she moved to New York.

She also appreciated, though, just being able to hold on to those memories of her parents being good people. Being parents. Being human. Brooklyn had turned off much of the emotions that she associated with them, and though this time of the year, because of memories like that, it was harder to think about them, she wasn't really as bothered as one might have expected, when Holly asked about her mother. It mostly just seemed strange since Brooklyn felt like she had already explained to Holly, several times, that she didn't keep in contact with her mother any more. It was a conversation that she would never purposely start but as everyone was well aware of, Holly had a tendency to pry in the most innocent of ways, and while Brooklyn never got into any details, she also felt no need to lie and claim that she had a good relationship with the woman she hadn't seen in years. "I guess I'm sad that I don't get gifts from him anymore, sure," she said, feeling a bit odd for still playing along with Santa existing, to a sixteen year old. The mere fact that Holly had said that she had never gotten anything from Santa spoke to the fact that beyond the mental challenges that she clearly faced, there must have been other issues going on during her childhood. While Brooklyn knew that it was completely possible for someone to grow up in an impoverished home, where extras like Christmas were simply impossible, and still come out normal, she knew from other things that Holly had said, since they met, that that wasn't the case for her.

Even though Brooklyn had been met with a fairly harsh reality of how the world worked, once she moved to New York, she had still spent her youth being sheltered in the safe world of the comfortable suburbs, and there were things as simply as actually being able to be an innocent child that she realized that she took for granted, when she was around Holly. Holly was as close to the description of an "innocent child" that Brooklyn could think of now, but that mere fact that she was acting that way now, at sixteen, spoke to how something must have went wrong during the years when she was supposed to go through that phase, and then grow out of it. Brooklyn had never directly asked, as most of her references to it were bitter and sarcastic questions about how many times Holly had been dropped on her head as a baby, but it didn't stop her from being curious on a more genuine level. "And no, I haven't seen my mom in a few years. What about your mom? Is she going to break out of prison to make up for all of the years that Santa skipped your house?" Surprisingly, her tone was curious and light over edgy and snide, and even more surprisingly, she actually hit pause on the movie once the actual content seemed to be getting ready to play, as she was interested in hearing what Holly had to say. The pause came at a good time, however, because it allowed them to hear the knock at the door, which Brooklyn barely responded to at first. She figured it was Cara, which was barely surprising, considering that even though she had said she would be gone for the night, she lived here, and was only away on the other side of the city. Her returning to pick something up wouldn't have been outlandish, and the idea that maybe she forgot her key wasn't too off either. "See who it is," she said to Holly, nodding towards the door, as she was too comfortable (and lazy) to do so herself.

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Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Holly had been captivated for a little while, once Brooklyn had chosen a movie and the opening credits started playing. It was the part of the movie that most people didn't pay attention to at all, since it wasn't the actual movie yet, but as everyone knew, television was the one thing that could keep Holly's attention and right now, this was no exception to that. It wasn't interesting enough to leave her completely zoned out from what Brooklyn was saying, so when the blonde finished talking, Holly had heard enough to respond in an acceptable manner. That response included the furrowing of her eyebrows and a shake of her head at Brooklyn's last question, that Holly didn't pick up on as being a joke. "No, she would get into more trouble if she left. You're not allowed to do that," she answered. Though Makayla had reassured her time and time again that Santa was nothing more than parents pretending to be a made up character, and that since their parents didn't have money (or the desire to put in any effort into their children's happiness), they never played into the holiday tradition, Holly had always held onto the belief that he was real, and just hadn't come to their house. One of the reasons her mother had given her years ago, about how Santa only visited people with money, had made the most sense to her, and still did today, so Brooklyn claiming that she had received gifts from the man, including a Barbie Dream House, and that she had grown up in a house with a chimney automatically made Holly believe that she had come from money. Given that to Holly, "coming from money" really just meant living in a single family home with your own bedroom, it wasn't even an unrealistic conclusion.

"So when you were little, were you a rich person?" she went on to ask, as she reached down for her third cookie. Somehow, in the midst of the television and Brooklyn's words, Holly hadn't registered the knock on the door immediately, and only did when Brooklyn told her to see who it was. "Okay!" she obliged cheerfully, pushing herself off of the couch with an energetic bounce. "Maybe it'll be the elf from the movie, and he was trying to get home from his latest visit to New York but the snow messed up his plans and now he needs to stay with us tonight!" she considered aloud, already on her way to the door. After unlocking it, she pulled it open to reveal Aubree on the other end. In a move that seemed unusual and strange for Holly, the enthusiasm on her face seemed to disappear almost immediately as she frowned at the girl in front of her. Holly didn't hate many people, and hate probably wasn't even a word that she would use for Aubree, but she definitely didn't like Makayla's half-sister. Growing up, Aubree had always been selfish and harsh. No one could expect that everyone in the world would be like Makayla, and be capable of handling Holly with care, despite all of her flaws, but it had always seemed like Aubree went out of her way to make Holly's life more difficult. She would be the one telling her father that Holly wouldn't shut up at two in the morning, when he was drunk and drugged up and willing to "discipline" her for it. When Makayla was working and their uncle who abused Holly was around, Aubree would dismiss Makayla's request for her to stay with Holly and look after her, and purposely leave her with the man. She criticized and verbally abused Holly nearly as much as her mother and Makayla's father did, and any memory that Holly had of Aubree, growing up, was a bad one. She hadn't been comfortable with Aubree staying over for a night a few weeks ago, and had only recently stopped bringing up how she didn't want it to happen again to Makayla, so finding her outside the door now was disconcerting at best. Without even thinking to shut the door in her face, Holly spun around almost immediately, and in a bit of a panic, without saying a word to Aubree, returned to the couch where Brooklyn sat. "Brooklyn, can you tell her to go away? She's mean and she's going to ruin our Christmas because it's bad enough that Cara and Chanel didn't want to stay to celebrate Christmas with me and you but she'll make it a hundred times worse, okay?" she insisted, taking and squeezing one of Brooklyn's hands as a way of enforcing how detrimental this was.

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Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Maybe it was just a little evil that the way that Holly's face went white and her eyes widened in what Aubree took as a mixture of surprise and fear, left her smirking. She didn't think that it was her fault that she got off on the idea of people fearing her. It just represented that she had power over people, and she would leave it at that, refusing to acknowledge that having power over a sixteen year old who was abused for the majority of her life wasn't any sort of power to be proud of. She knew that in this situation, it probably would have been preferable if Holly hadn't responded in that manner, though. She was probably the only person who was lucky enough to not fall into the group of people who Holly constantly sought - and gave - physically affection to, but if the two were on those terms (which, given how easily Holly warmed up to people, could have even just be an acquaintance level), convincing Makayla to let her stay probably would have been easier. Or, she thought, she at least would have received a warmer welcome than the one that she got when Holly fled back into the living area of the apartment and Makayla approached the door.

"I'm here to spend Christmas with my family, that's what I'm doing here," she answered, as if it was the obvious reason. Part of her wished that she had never texted Makayla about losing her housing, and that she had just shown up with a bottle of wine in a cheap Christmas gift bag, and acted like she genuinely was only coming over to spend the holiday with them, like families did. It was too late to back track now and make her intentions look genuinely innocent though, but it didn't stop her from attempting to go down that route. She took a step inside then, taking Makayla's typical refusal to be direct and say that she wasn't welcome there, as an opportunity to refuse to allow her to get to that point at all. She set her bags down a foot away as she shut the door behind her, an act that symbolically represented, to herself at least, that she was now settled enough that Makayla couldn't tell her to leave, and just to seal the deal, she leaned over and wrapped Makayla into a tight squeeze of a hug. "And on that note, it's nice to see you too, baby sis. Now I see where your little darling gets her bad manners from," she added, her eyes briefly looking across the room at the redhead, before she released Makayla from her grasp. She could see now, that Holly had returned to the couch that was occupied by another girl, who Aubree could only describe as being blonde, from where she stood. The last time that she had stayed here, she actually hadn't met either of Makayla's roommates, since she had been in and out, just as Makayla wanted, but she vaguely remembered Makayla describing the girl who was "in charge" of the apartment as being a white girl, so without much of a second thought, she assumed that Brooklyn was Cara. With that in mind, she saw this as being a perfect opportunity to side step Makayla in all respects of the phrase, and just as she released the shorter girl from her hug, she stepped towards the couch, until she was standing between it and the television, in front of Brooklyn. "You must be Kay's roommate," she said, extending a hand and using her sweetest voice, purposely tossing in her sister's nickname for the effect of it. "I'm Aubree, her sister," she introduced herself, before her eyes roved over Holly, and she added, "Her actual sister," in a way that distanced itself more than she originally had planned, from the sweet and kind persona she was temporarily adapting. "I hope you don't mind if I spend the night with her. It's just been so long since we've been able to spend a holiday together."

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Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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When it became apparent that the commotion at the door was going to be more complicated to sort out than just letting Cara into the apartment, as Brooklyn had thought it would entail, she paused the movie. Holly had rushed back to her rambling frantically about how the girl at the door would ruin their Christmas, which caused Brooklyn to glance back at the unfamiliar person in the doorway, before looking back to Holly. She clearly knew the girl, and it was off putting that Holly of all people would be so adamant about not wanting someone around, but she didn't seem like an imminent threat. From the quick glance that she took, straining her neck in the process, she noted that the girl was probably around Cara's height, had a pretty face, and didn't seem to have done anything intimidating in those few seconds that Holly could have interacted with her in the doorway. Regardless, she was glad that Makayla appeared then, and after addressing Holly, went on to address the girl at the door, who she called Aubree. It was quite possible that after Aubree had stayed the night a few weeks back, that Holly had said the name in Brooklyn's presence, but Brooklyn hadn't remembered it. She had left that night from Colton's party, fairly abruptly, to clock in a couple of hours at work after two of the girls on staff that night had fallen ill during their shift. By the time she got home in the early hours of the morning, Aubree and the girls were asleep, and by the time that Brooklyn woke up the next afternoon, she was gone. She didn't even know that the girl had stayed there, but that didn't mean that Holly or Makayla hadn't mentioned it, and she just wasn't listening when they did.

With the television now paused, it was easier to hear how Makayla didn't sound very eager about the girl's arrival either, but once Aubree responded, she clarified that she was related to Makayla. Brooklyn had only responded to Holly by holding her pointer finger in the air, to signal for the girl to hold on a minute as she listened into Makayla and Aubree's conversation, trying to figure out what was going on. She had called Makayla her "baby sis", Brooklyn heard, which meant that she was older than Makayla, but given Makayla and Holly's sister relationship, Brooklyn wasn't sure if that meant that they were biological sisters or not. Aubree clearly looked more similar to Makayla than Holly did, and she knew that siblings could be different heights so it shouldn't have mattered, but the height difference between Aubree and Makayla was throwing her off. Figuring that she and Makayla were going to talk more, Brooklyn dropped her finger and was ready to ask Holly why she didn't like her, when footsteps sounded and Aubree was soon standing in front of her. Although the movie had been paused and Brooklyn had been far more tuned into what was going on in the apartment than the screen in front of her, it bothered her that Aubree had chose to stand directly in front of the television, as if to demand her attention. It really reflected Brooklyn's tendency to hate being forcing her to do anything, more than anything else though, since as far as the surface level reflected, Aubree was simply being polite. At least if they were not including the way that she sent a pointed look Holly's way as she answered Brooklyn's unspoken question about being biologically related to Makayla. "As long as you don't plan on standing in front of the TV all night, I don't mind," she said, shaking Aubree's hand only because it was right in front of her facing, but skipping past the formality of offering her own name. However, the smile that she offered made Brooklyn feel like she wasn't being catty, and once she pulled away from Aubree, she looked back to Holly, who stood beside her spot on the couch. With a gentle pull on the back of the girl's shirt, she signaled for her to sit back down, and she hoped that that also translated into non-verbally telling her that things would be fine. Brooklyn didn't doubt that Makayla wouldn't be able to comfort Holly if this sister of hers was actually that problematic, but she also personally wasn't going to let the girl act aggressively towards Holly if it got to that point. And in a move that she knew she would regret tomorrow morning, and probably tonight to, she looked back at Makayla and said, "If you don't want someone sleeping on the couch or the floor, Holly can stay in my room tonight."

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Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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While Brooklyn's offer to allow Holly to spend the night in her room, to give Aubree a place to stay seemed surprisingly nice in the moment, to an extent that made Makayla a bit skeptical, if she actually had a second to absorb what was going on, it probably wouldn't have seemed so strange. Brooklyn was allowing Holly to eat her cookies and watch a movie with her, and actually seemed to be attempting to diffuse the tension between her sisters, rather than add to it, as she seemed to be known for doing. Though it seemed odd, Makayla wasn't going to complain, partly because even if Brooklyn was being fake, she appreciated the gentle nature for now, and partly because she was far too caught off guard by Aubree's forwardness to really be paying attention to the blonde. "No, no, it's okay," she responded, shaking her head as she dismissed the idea. Feeling like that wasn't the right response, though it wasn't even said in a dismissive or rude manner, she continued, correcting herself. "I mean, thanks, but it's just not going to be necessary." She had barely finished saying that by the time that she turned to face Aubree, who she addressed then in a tone that she really wanted to sound stern and certain, but came out more tired and pleading than desired. "Aubree, you can't stay here. We don't have the space and I-" She cut herself off there, knowing that no reason she could give, that was true, would be good enough to convince Aubree to go. If she admitted that she didn't have it in her to deal with Aubree's antics, she would be a bad sister. If she pointed out that she and Holly didn't get along and it wouldn't be fair to ruin Holly's holiday by including Aubree, she would be a bad sister. She wasn't going to win with logic, so she just shook her head. "It's just not going to work tonight, I'm sorry. Don't you have somewhere else you can stay?" Although it had to have been pretty clear that she was Aubree's last option, Makayla didn't know for certain that that was how bleak Aubree's situation really was. For the past few years, she had lost contact with her sister to such a great extent that she really only knew her through the social media posts she made, which always made her life seem decent. She would post pictures of food at restaurants, always seeming to tag a different guy on the plate full of food opposite hers and on weekends, pictures of her with unfamiliar girls at a bar would appear on her timeline.

Aside from Makayla just not having the time or care to play detective in Aubree's life, what probably also played into her just assuming that her sister was doing alright was that as kids, Aubree had always seemed to make a big deal about being the best. She would never accept defeat and always had to prove to everyone that she was the smartest and the prettiest and the most liked. It often came in the form of purposely putting others down to win the favor of those that she admired, like how she would purposely get Holly into trouble to make their father think that she was that much better of a daughter, and so on. Though she didn't like to acknowledge it a lot, Makayla did have a sort of maternal instinct that extended beyond Holly. With how dependent Holly was, it was hard for her to really focus any of that energy on anyone else, but it wasn't like she didn't worry about Aubree. As fucked up as it was, there were times when she actually worried about her father, despite all of the stress and problems he had caused throughout her entire youth. She cared about her sister and that was why when Aubree said, "If I had somewhere else to go, I wouldn't have showed up at your door empty handed on Christmas Eve, now would I, sis?" Makayla could feel her argument against Aubree staying growing even weaker. "All right, but just for tonight, okay? And you'll have to sleep on the couch when they finish watching TV, then." Unlike the last time that Aubree had stayed with them, Makayla wasn't going to give up her own bed for her sister, and she also wasn't going to make Holly give hers up either, despite knowing that there was a chance that the redhead would actually want to spend the night in Brooklyn's room, given her well-known obsession with her.

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Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Aubree was more than just someone who had bullied Holly while they had lived together. She represented her youth, in a way. Looking at Aubree, and hearing her voice, reminded her of things that she had spent so many years trying to forget. It was so easy for her to be taken back to those traumatic times, like now, when Aubree making a point of her relationship with Makayla being stronger by blood, than Holly's with her, quickly brought her back to a time when that had been brought up years ago, when Holly was nine or ten. It was probably around eight o'clock on that summer's night when Aubree had walked into her bedroom, to find Holly sitting on the floor of her room with the contents of her purse sprawled out across the floor. Makayla had left for work a couple of hours before, and after accidentally spilling fruit punch all over the kitchen floor, Holly's mother had ordered that she remain in her room until morning, or she'd make sure that her boyfriend would ensure that she would learn to listen in the form of a "lesson" that would leave her skin sore for weeks. Startled from being screamed at and having her hair yanked hard by her mother following the spill, Holly had managed to keep herself settled in her bedroom for the first hour following it. She sat on her bed, and then got off and moved to Makayla's bed, which was just a few feet away in the small bedroom they shared. She stood in front of their mirror and make funny faces, and looked through all of Makayla's clothes, trying to find something that looked new and interesting. She picked at the white paint that was peeling off of their wall in so many places, that from afar, it was hard to tell if the walls were supposed to be white or the grey color of the concrete that had been painted over. She did the best that her hyperactive ten year old mind could do, to keep herself sane while remaining in the small bedroom, but time was moving so slowly.

When the sound of the television in the living room playing some sports game, coupled with laughter and unfamiliar voices grew louder, she thought that she was safe to wander a bit. Their apartment wasn't big in the slightest, but the bedroom were located in a hallway that wasn't visible from the living room, and Holly knew that when her mother and her boyfriend invited people over, they usually became so engulfed in the socialization (or more accurately, the drugs), that she was the last thing they were worried about. The act of her leaving her bedroom against her mother's orders likely would have went unnoticed, had she not decided that the bedroom that Aubree was living in was the most interesting room she could stop in. Maybe she would have had a chance too, of escaping the beating, had she not sat down on Aubree's floor after dumping out a purse she found on the girl's dresser, and looking through all of the treasures that the bag held. The things that could have been concerning, like the condoms and the weed pipe and the tiny bag of cocaine didn't even come close to catching her interest, compared to the container of half-consumed Tic Tacs, or the compact mirror that had rhinestone jewels all over one side of it, or the eyeliner pencil that Holly couldn't stop herself from testing out on the rug. Holly likely hadn't even been concerned with Aubree's whereabouts at the time, but she got unlucky because Aubree wasn't out of the apartment, but had only been showering, and when she returned, was livid to find Holly looking through her things. The details of the conversation that followed were lost over the years, but Holly could easily still recall that when she tried to reason that Aubree always let Makayla come into her room without asking, Aubree responded by informing her that Makayla was her real sister, not the "spawn of a trailer park trash whore".

It was hard to say that comments like that were what solely instilled the negative feelings that Holly associated with Aubree, and more likely than not, the fact that following that conversation (and countless others like it), Aubree would go on to shout for her father to come in and "handle it", which would sometimes lead to Aubree's uncle coming in, and handling it in a way that would make Holly burst into tears even today, just thinking about it, played just as much, if not a greater role in that. Simply put, though, Aubree's mere presence was triggering to Holly, and she did feel somewhat betrayed and dumbfounded when Makayla caved in and said that Aubree could stay for the night. She had allowed Brooklyn to tug her back onto the couch and had sat back down due to the guidance, but she was more focused on Makayla than Brooklyn, even when Brooklyn offered to allow her to sleep in her room for the night. The way that Holly had blatantly ignored that offer, which normally would have resulted in her becoming ecstatic instantly, spoke to how off putting this situation was. "No, I don't want her to stay," Holly said, in a whining manner as she shook her head adamantly. When their history was considered, Holly wasn't being a brat, and she wasn't on the verge of having a breakdown over just being selfish and not wanting to share Makayla or their space. Anyone who knew Holly knew that that simply wasn't in her character. She was on the verge of tears because of how anxious Aubree's mere presence made her feel, and even if Aubree was going to be spending the night on the couch, in a separate space than her, Holly likely wasn't going to feel any more at ease. "I want to stay with Chanel or Cara. Can you call them? I don't want to stay here if she's staying here."

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Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Aubree laughed at Brooklyn's comment, mostly because she felt like it was the only polite way she could respond. A roll of her eyes or offended expression would have been more fitting given Aubree's personality and the way that Brooklyn hadn't seemed half as cordial in her greeting than Aubree had tried to be in hers, but she wasn't going to be petty. That stemmed partly because she just knew better, given the situation and how she was already being overbearing just by being there, but also because of who Brooklyn was. Aubree didn't even know her, and even if she didn't think that Brooklyn was Cara, who Aubree still barely knew, and actually only knew "of", as being the girl who had enough money to pay the rent, she still would have felt a certain way about Brooklyn. For starters, she was absolutely gorgeous. Aubree was quite happy with who she was, especially in a physical sense, but that didn't mean that she was blind to the world's beauty standards. Girls like Brooklyn who were thin and had light skin and light features, particularly the blonde hair and blue eyes, seemed to just get a free pass in the world. They were idolized just because of their DNA, and though when she thought about it fully, she knew that it was sick and wrong, it didn't mean that she could just automatically unlearn what society had taught her for all of her life. No, even to this day, her first thought when seeing girls like Brooklyn was one of intimidation. She wouldn't show it at face value, but in the back of her mind there was a voice reminding her that she needed to know her place around girls like Brooklyn.

The voice wasn't as loud as it had been years ago, when she had left the neighborhood she had grown up in, and was actually around girls like Brooklyn frequently. Growing up in a community that consisted of 99% minorities, Holly and her mother had seemed liked rarities, but they didn't even count as being a part of that superior group of white people, because Aubree had automatically decided that they were trash, and below her, after they "ruined" her family. Before growing up, the most interaction that Aubree had with people who weren't low-income minorities like herself were from reading about celebrities like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan in magazines on the checkout lane in the grocery store. It was people like them who were basically worshiped, with their every move being followed, and even when they did wrong, nothing happened to them. Aubree would see people she knew being incarcerated over dime bags of weed, while these white girls could get into car accidents or do hard drugs and get off with community service. Especially as a child and teenager, growing up in a society where her life held such a stark contrast to theirs, it was hard not to think that somehow, they had to be better than her and her people, if the rest of the world thought that. Things had changed since then, and that was something that was probably easier for Aubree than other black girls, considered that being half Asian, tall, and considerably light skinned led guys to thinking that she was more attractive than some other girls. Given that that was still playing into the entire race system that the social world thrived off of, it wasn't something that helped in the overall sense of fixing things, but it did give Aubree a boost of confidence to feel comfortable in her own skin.

Makayla's initial insistence that she coudln't stay definitely led to a feeling of discomfort and awkwardness at first, which was something that Aubree wasn't comfortable with feeling. No one would be, but for someone like Aubree, it was even worse, because her initial reaction to things like that was typically to take it as being attacked, and then lash out. She knew that that wouldn't do her any good in this situation, but still, she didn't want to have to beg to stay, since she really had no where else to go. Luckily, Makayla caved, and Aubree smirked internally, knowing that she shouldn't have doubted, even for a second, that that was coming. "Of course," she smiled, putting in a lot of effort to not make it look as strained as it really was, as she agreed that it would just be a one night stay. "I would never over stay my welcome." With that, she returned to the doorway and retrieved her bags, but by the time that she got back to the couch area, she could hear Holly getting worked up, and blatantly stating that she didn't want Aubree to stay. She had always known that the girl was a brat, but for her to be this rude made it impossible for Aubree to be completely civil. "Don't worry, babe. Some of us know how to respect others' spaces, so you won't even know that I'm here. No need to get worked up over it." She did her best to keep her tone sweet, despite her words purposely being indicative of how she didn't think that Holly had a leg to stand on when complaining about someone else intruding in her personal space. She turned back to Makayla a moment later though, and smiled. "Mind if I take a shower? I always feel like I'm covered in a layer of grime after getting off the subway." She did want to shower, but she didn't know what she would do if she didn't shower. Brooklyn and Holly were sitting on the couch that she was supposed to sleep on, and she clearly couldn't kick them off, and she also didn't want to watch with them, so this seemed like the only option she had, especially if she wanted to keep the tension at a low.

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Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Makayla had been ready to pass out before Aubree showed up uninvited, but once she got there and her presence was felt, Makayla felt more than exhausted. Her legs and head felt heavy, and all she wanted to do was curl up under layers of blankets, but besides feeling physically tired, the mental strain of everything was too much for her to deal with, as well. Her day with Holly had been good and simple, with nothing out of the blue happening. The snow, and the fact that it was Christmas Eve had made the day a bit easier because of how excited and upbeat Holly was, and had Aubree not shown up, it likely would have been an easy night. Brooklyn was apparently in a good mood, which meant that she probably would have tolerated Holly throughout the entirety of the movie, which likely would have led to Holly falling asleep on the couch, where Makayla probably would have left her until morning. She probably would have been woken up at five in the morning by Holly who would already have enough energy at that hour, to make it seem like she had eaten one hundred pounds of pure sugar, but Makayla would have taken that over how the night actually panned out. Once Aubree went off to shower, Holly through a temper tantrum that surpassed any Makayla had seen her throw... maybe ever. It wasn't even like she was kicking and screaming and breaking things, but she was just refusing to acknowledge anything that Makayla said. She didn't want to hear any side of reason, about how Makayla would keep Aubree so far at bay that Holly didn't even have to see her if she didn't want to. Nothing that Makayla said seemed to even reach the girl's ears, because she refused to do anything other than cry and hide under her pillow, and repeat over and over again that she needed Makayla to call Cara or Chanel so she could move in with them.

It wasn't like Holly to snap like this. Sometimes she got upset over Makayla telling her that they couldn't afford certain things, and there were ocassions when she would get whiny over Makayla insisting that they didn't have time to stop in the middle of the street to pet a dog that Holly spotted on the other side of the road, but it was very, very rare that she actually got so upset that she was inconsolable. That was something that Makayla probably should have been proud of, because maybe it meant that she was doing something right, but she saw this situation as only proving that she wasn't capable of being a guardian to anyone, let alone a teenager who had years worth of trauma and emotional issues that hadn't been professionally treated. She hated seeing Holly so distressed and unable to cope with something that Makayla really didn't see as an enormous problem, but she literally didn't know how to help Holly. It was too late to kick Aubree out, and when it got to the point that Brooklyn couldn't even talk Holly out of the fit, Makayla gave up. She felt like crying too, and if Aubree hadn't been occupying the bathroom still, Makayla probably would have hid in there, turned the shower on to drown out the noise, and had a breakdown of her own. It was like she couldn't do anything right. She hated her life, right now, and clearly, life hated her too.

Makayla was ready to get down on her knees and thank the lord when Holly's crying finally subsided, and after a peek into their bedroom, she found her sister to be asleep. All Makayla wanted to do then, was to climb into the bed on the other side of the room and fall into a deep sleep, but she couldn't. Now, she had to wait until Aubree was out of the shower so that she could talk to her. Makayla hated herself for being so soft that she had caved and let Aubree stay in the first place, but after the show that Holly had put on, Makayla knew that she had to be stern. She needed to tell Aubree that she needed to be gone in less than twelve hours and that she really couldn't come back this time. She didn't want her saying anything to Holly or even looking in her direction, for that matter. Aubree could play the whole "blood is thicker than water" card all she wanted, but the past few years with Holly had proved to Makayla that the real quote, "The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb" was the one that actually held truth. Holly was her family, and though Makayla was sentimental on a level she wished didn't exist, to a point where she couldn't say that Aubree wasn't family, she knew that she had every right to put Holly before her sister who only showed up when she needed something.

It shouldn't have been so perplexing as to why Aubree had remained in the bathroom with the water on, presumably in the shower, for nearly an hour. Someone like her would be the first to tell you to take a three minute cold shower if she was the one footing the water bill, but on someone else's dollar, it only made sense that she would act like a three year steaming hot shower was necessary. That didn't click to Makayla, or else she would have banged on the door until Aubree came out, but she had a distraction anyway. Once Holly had went to bed, Brooklyn had seemingly lost interest in the television, and seemed to feel bad for Makayla as well, because she pulled a bottle of vodka out of one of the cabinets and poured Makayla a glass of it, with what seemed like a splash of cranberry juice, in a proportion combination that should have been reversed. Some time through their conversation, Makayla learned that the bottle of alcohol actually belonged to Cara, which made the situation more logical seeming, but at this point, Makayla didn't even feel bad about accepting what wasn't Brooklyn's to offer in the first place. She was a glass and a half in, and definitely feeling enough of a buzz to actually find Brooklyn's company to be enjoyable, when there was a knock at the front door. Makayla wasn't expecting anyone, but given her luck tonight, she wouldn't have been surprised if her father had escaped from prison and showed up here too, seeking shelter. Still, she looked towards Brooklyn with a curious expression, as if to signal that she wasn't sure who would be knocking, but also only doing that because she was far too lethargic to get up and open it herself. "Hopefully it's not Cara," she said, after a few seconds as she looked down at her glass.

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Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Aubree made the most of her time in the shower, partly because it was nice to just have time to unwind and relax in the steaming hot space, but also because she assumed that Holly and Brooklyn were still sitting on the couch that was supposed to be her bed. There was no use in hurrying out there, just to have to awkwardly sit beside them until they were finished watching, especially after Holly had made a huge show about how she didn't want Aubree to stay there. That in itself had taken Aubree by surprise. She wasn't surprised so much, that the girl lacked manners and had the temperament of a five year old, so the temper tantrum wasn't shocking. The way that she had been so upfront and rude had been more unexpected though, because that wasn't what she remembered Holly to be like. She was disrespectful in terms of defying any sort of social barriers that people put up, but no matter how many times she had been reprimanded for that, she always seemed to do it again. Aubree knew that she had never been quite as sisterly to Holly as Makayla was, but could she be blamed? She had been convinced, day after day, by her mother, that Holly's skank of a mother was the one who came in and took their place in the apartment. They were kicked to the curb the second those two showed up, and Aubree had to beg her father for a bed in that house, just to keep herself out of a homeless shelter. That instilled the initial dislike she had for Holly in her, but then the girl didn't make her case any easier to work with. Aubree would come home from a long day at school, only to find more of her father's "girls" in her house, usually high on dope, in the process of shooting dope, or cooking it. Sometimes they would bring their kids with them, and the house would reek of diapers that hadn't been changed, and vomit that hadn't been cleaned up from the people who couldn't handle the night before's binge drinking.

If Makayla was the one watching Holly and those other kids who were in the house, than Aubree often times found herself being forced to do a lot of the housekeeping. It wasn't like her doing the dishes that tended to pile up at an alarming rate, or trying to kill off the roaches that always seemed to seep out of the cracks in between the floor and the wall, did much to make the apartment actually livable, but it was a daunting task for a teenager who just wanted a normal life. When all of that was over, and she had faced her own sets of verbal abuse from her father and anyone else in the house who felt like they were authoritative figures, she would hurry off to her bedroom in hopes of just getting a moment's peace, and hopefully, one that didn't involve finding some stranger passed out in her bed. So could she be blamed when day after day (and coincidentally, usually on her worst days) Holly had defied her countless warnings and was in her bedroom, touching her things? Aubree didn't think so. No one in their home had much in terms of material things, so no, she didn't think she was overreacting when Holly would smear her dollar store brand lipstick all over a sheet of paper as if it were a crayon, or when she would be rummaging through her things and accidentally knock over and break a five dollar bottle of knock off perfume. It wasn't like she was directly telling her father to physically abuse Holly, or her uncle to do more than that... Sure, she knew that that was what was coming, when she did snitch on the young girl, but what else was she supposed to do? Telling her to stay out didn't work, and in Aubree's own defense, she was struggling with her own problems and her own stress, and as someone who was also just a minor at the time, it wasn't right of any of the adults in the house to expect her to be able to cope with that, on top of Holly. Aubree had never felt much real remorse for what she had indirectly put Holly through, but that was mostly because after she moved out, she rarely ever saw or spoke to Makayla or Holly. It was one of those things where if she didn't see the problem, it no longer existed, and though maybe if she was to spend more time with Holly, she would feel bad, right now, the way that Holly had treated her initially wasn't a reaction that was going to lead to much repentance on Aubree's part. She wasn't mature enough to accept her wrongdoing right away.

After at least an hour in the shower, Aubree got out and changed into her pajamas, which consisted of nothing more than a tank top and a pair of underwear. She was so used to wearing that where she used to live that she didn't think twice about doing it here, and even if she wanted to wear something else, she didn't actually own any real pajamas, and wearing real clothes meant that she would be one outfit closer to having to do laundry, which wasn't helpful. Thankfully, her shower cap had done her well and her hair that had been straightened the day before was still dry when she unveiled it. She pulled it back into a loose braid before putting all of her belongings back into her bag, and carrying it out into the living room. She was happily surprised to find that Holly was no where in sight, and the couch was empty, and the television was turned off. The only person in the room was the blonde from earlier, who still hadn't introduced herself, leading Aubree to still assume she was Cara. She looked like she was focused on her phone, so after setting her bag down next to the couch, Aubree approached her. "Are you done with the couch now? And do you know if the two of them already asleep?" Although she didn't see a clock in the near vicinity, she assumed that it couldn't be much later than nine or nine thirty, which seemed pretty early to go to bed. The knock at the door caught her attention, but again, despite her skimpy attire, she didn't think to leave the room despite the good possibility of someone else coming in now. Since it wasn't her place, though, all she did was look towards the door, and then back at Brooklyn, somewhat curiously.

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Brooklyn would gladly take being sarcastically called Mother Teresa. Just because her track record didn't point to her being very nice didn't mean that tonight she wasn't acting that way, and even if she didn't have ground to criticize someone else for being unnecessarily mean, she was going to. Today was Christmas Eve, after all, so it seemed like a given that you were supposed to drop the attitude. Clearly, Roman hadn't gotten the memo, and Brooklyn was just glad that he finally left before she spewed any more hateful words that she didn't genuinely mean. She took a seat once again, refilling her glass again with tequila before doing so, and looking through her phone aimlessly as she waited for Nick to come over. Smoking wasn't one of Brooklyn's go-to vices, since alcohol and shopping usually filled those voids, but she was already going hard on the alcohol and she had done enough shopping this week. Besides, while she would never admit it, there was a tiny little part of her that wanted to see Nick. She hadn't even crossed paths with him in weeks, and she wanted to see how distraught and in pieces he was. She wanted the gratification of seeing that he wasn't well and thriving without her, as if she was the glue that held his life together. Aside from wanting to see him for selfish reasons though, there was another small part of her that just wanted to see him to see him. To be in his presence and know, for more genuine reasons, that he was alive and at least surviving. He didn't need to be thriving, because that would mean that he was better without her, but alive and breathing would work.

Aubree's voice caught Brooklyn by surprise, mostly because she had forgotten about the girl entirely, especially now that Makayla was gone. She figured that she was the only one left up, but as the girl pranced over to her, she was proven wrong. "Yeah to both questions, but I'm going to be smoking in here, so if you're not into weed, you should probably hop back into the shower." She didn't say it in a harsh tone, more of just a matter-of-fact one. Brooklyn easily could have smoked in her own bedroom but she didn't want her room to smell like that. She knew it wasn't particularly kind to force the common area of the apartment to smell like it either, but she knew that Makayla wouldn't have a problem with it, and quite frankly, she didn't care if Aubree would. That was probably made clear, right then and there, and Brooklyn didn't feel guilty about it. Especially not when she noticed Aubree's attire, which she would admit didn't look bad on someone with a figure worth showing off like she had, but also wasn't something that she wanted to be flaunted around when Nick was coming over. That in itself was something that Brooklyn wished she didn't even think about, because she was done with Nick, and she knew that he was a pig already, so she shouldn't have been surprised anyway, if his eyes focused in on Aubree instead of her when he got there, but still... After Roman's comments, the last thing that she needed was to be reminded about how she wasn't good enough to keep her own boyfriend's attention. "She probably doesn't wanna be bothered, but if you want to tell Makayla without waking Holly up, she can light up with me if she wants. If she comes out and you're into smoking, I'll share with you too." If Makayla wasn't going to come out, then all Aubree was going to get was the second hand smoke that circulated around the room, though. Maybe it was rude, and it was definitely impolite, but Brooklyn didn't care. Now that she looked at Aubree again, what she was wearing was definitely bothering her more than she thought it was, and it seemed like that need to prove that she was better than this girl who was taller and thinner and more attractive, made Brooklyn even bitchier than she normally would have been. The fact that Roman had utterly destroyed her good mood might have played into that as well, though.

Without another word to Aubree, she went to answer the door, knowing that it was Nick before she even opened it up. Since it wasn't a surprise visit, she felt more prepared to see him for the first time in a while, especially since she had initiated it, and had given a valid reason for it, other than just wanting to see him. Still, just seeing his face did... something... to her, and it made her look past his bloodshot eyes and the very potent odor of marijuana that came off of him as she motioned for him to come inside, once she saw the bag of weed in his hand. "Did you miss the part where I asked you to roll the joints for me? You know I don't carry rolling paper on me," she said, sighing a bit dramatically, almost in a playful manner, as if she was goading a response out of him. "How much do I owe you though? It better be a full two grams. Don't jip me, Moreno." Given their most recent interactions, which weren't exactly recent, it was surprising that she was actually being playful with him. The glass of tequila in her hand was an easy excuse for that, however.

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Character Portrait: Nick Moreno Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Nick hadn't seen Brooklyn in a few weeks, so standing face to face with her felt almost surreal. Maybe he was too high, but as he stood in the doorway as she spoke, he didn't even hear much of what she was saying. All that was going through his mind was "Man, isn't she beautiful?". And she was. In pajamas and sporting a face free of makeup, she was beautiful. She wasn't any less when she was all dolled up and ready to go out to work for the night, but it was this Brooklyn that he missed the most. The one who was real and natural, in more ways than just the physical sense. He was too high to catch on to how drunk she was, but that wouldn't have mattered to him anyway. For one, it wasn't all that surprising, and two, if her being drunk meant that she was more likely to text him, than he would treat her bad habit as if it was a gift from God himself. "Come on, you know I'm not gonna take money from you. Consider it a Christmas gift."

"I don't want a Christmas gift from you. Seriously, how much do I owe you? Twenty a gram?" She pressed, thinking that that sounded familiar as something he had said before. Brooklyn wasn't a frequent smoker, but she did it when she felt the need to. Alcohol was just easier and usually more enjoyable for her, but weed gave her a different buzz that she thought would feel nice tonight. Nick wasn't even looking at Aubree, but Brooklyn was insecure, especially now after realizing for herself that Aubree was very attractive, so she jumped the gun, as if to protect herself from feeling bad if she did catch Nick looking at her. "And that's Aubree, Makayla's sister. She's getting ready for bed, as you can see, so come into my room so we don't disturb her." She didn't give Aubree a chance to insist that they weren't bothering her, if that was what she was going to do, and she purposely accentuated the "my" in her sentence, as if to remind Nick that it was no longer his room... that they were over, and it was his fault. He was the one who had lost something, not her. At the same time, she wasn't leading him into privacy out of respect for Aubree's peace and quiet because as she had made clear earlier, she didn't really care about the girl. The alcohol was the only thing that could be blamed for the stark change in how she was interacting with Nick, but right now, she wanted to reason that time had the power to heal things. Maybe she had only needed a month to heal things with him enough where one night seemed okay.

Nick was in enough of a daze that he hadn't noticed Aubree in the room at first, and even when Brooklyn explained who she was, he barely had time to process that and then offer her a wave of acknowledgment. In fact, he didn't even have time to conjure up a good answer to any of her questions, before she was leading him down the bedroom hallway that was all too familiar to him. Although he hadn't actually resided there in weeks, with how little he was at his new apartment, this one still felt like more of his home. With Brooklyn gripping his arm and pulling him towards the bedroom, it only felt more familiar. "Just take it, Brooke," he said as they walked. "And I brought you that old pipe you always liked using. Figured you'd prefer that over me rolling them into joints for you." He managed to get the glass pipe out of his pocket and handed it to her once they were in her bedroom, hoping that she would just take it all and not continue to push the payment thing. He would never take money from her. Even with Roman, he sometimes felt guilty for accepting payment. It wasn't good for his business to be handing out his product for free, and Nick knew that (and was reminded of it at the end of every month when he felt his wallet grow too light for comfort), but he had too much of a conscience. He was always overthinking things and feeling guilty, even if he didn't verbalize it, and well, when it came to Brooklyn, guilt was all that he felt when he thought of her, lately. If weed was going to be his form of payment in making things good with her again, he didn't think that giving her a million dollars worth of pot for free would even make him feel like they were even for what he had done. He knew that their relationship hadn't been healthy before he had cheated, and that, he couldn't only blame himself for, but he had fucked up big time by cheating on Brooklyn. Not only because he lost her, but because he hurt her.

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Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Brooklyn West Character Portrait: Roman Killens Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait:
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Aubree had initially left Makayla's apartment once she and Holly had woken up because she didn't want to feel awkward sitting there, and watching Holly open up gifts. She knew that Makayla wasn't going to have anything to open up, so it wouldn't have been like she was the only one with no gifts, but still... it felt weird. And maybe that was weird in itself, since Aubree had grown up in the very same financial predicament as Makayla and Holly. She had no history to suggest that she was some spoiled brat who expected gifts around every corner, but even coming from an upbringing where gifts, even on traditional holidays like this, were rare, an entitled side of Aubree still existed. She did a good job at suppressing it, since she knew that it was immature and nonsensical, but it was the side of her that wanted to shout day and night, how unfair it was for her to be living this life. She didn't want handouts and she didn't expect things for free, but if everyone else got things for free, and got handouts, she wanted them too.

It was a side of her that's existence dated back to childhood. She remembered how growing up, a lot of the kids on her block would spend their summer days and nights stealing bikes from neighboring communities. You would have been stupid to steal them from their own neighborhood, not because it wasn't the "neighborly" thing to do, but because a minor infraction like that could land a bullet in your back, if you happened to be stealing it from the wrong person. The kids would travel in groups down to other neighborhoods, mostly in Manhattan, and would steal bikes from parks or other easy targets where careless more well-off kids would leave theirs. Aubree knew that stealing was wrong, and she had never taken one personally, but she had always remembered what one of her friends had reminded her. They had said that the kids who had been given those bikes from their mothers and fathers hadn't done anything more to deserve them than they, the kids stealing them, did. They tried just as hard as those kids did in school. They did just as many chores, and tried to be good children just as well as those wealthier children did. And at least in a child's mind, it wasn't fair that one set of children could be rewarded so materialistically for those average deeds, and the other set was left lusting for any sort of reward. "Besides," her friend had insisted, "it's not like their parents aren't just gonna go out and buy them a new one tomorrow." Allowing that mentality to still exist today was more entitled than it was in her childhood mind, and even if it was petty now, the resentment between the class differences was still a very real, and justifiable issue, and for Aubree, she knew that it would just sting less to not have to watch Holly open gifts and have that direct reminder that she wasn't getting any.

The night before, as she tried to fall asleep, she had spent her minutes before crashing sending out a bunch of texts on her phone, to nearly every male contact that she had. Almost all of them remained unanswered, even when Aubree woke up the next morning, and she did her best to tell herself that that was only because most of these men had girlfriends and probably wanted to wait until after the holidays to cheat on them. The ones that did answer didn't interest her much, but she was desperate. Makayla had seemed serious about wanting her out on Christmas, and Aubree needed somewhere to go, even if it was back to the shitty studio apartment that she had lived in with Jeff for a few months last spring. He had been one of the first to answer her, and during their short conversation, Aubree had discovered that his girlfriend was in the Dominican Republic for the holidays, visiting her family. He had to remain in New York because he had recently been promoted to a line cook job at a diner, and one of the requirements was that he work holidays. Aubree was desperate, and even if she would only have two weeks to live with Jeff until his girlfriend came back, it seemed better than spending those two weeks in a shelter. She accepted his invitation to meet up with him that morning for breakfast. Given Jeff's character, it wasn't surprising that he didn't have anything actually edible for her to put in her mouth. However, the few hours of "TLC" that she gave to him was enough to warrant the two-week stay invitation, and with a little encouragement on her part, he agreed that he would make sure her Christmas dinner meal tonight was on the house, if she wanted to stop by the diner. She knew that he was probably doing that more because he wanted to show off to his coworkers, that he was actually cheating on his girl with someone even better, than to do a good deed, but Aubree didn't care about the reasons behind it. She just felt like this would be the perfect way to pay Makayla back for letting her stay with her, and to make it seem like she really was a good person, just in case Aubree needed to stay again.

The timing of her arriving back to the apartment lined up well with Brooklyn opening the door for Roman, so with a quick hello, she swept past them and headed directly down the hall to Makayla's room. The apartment seemed quiet, so for a moment, she wondered if her sister and Holly were even there, but she soon found them. She didn't even notice the new iPhone in Makayla's hand, as she announced, "I'm back and I want to take you two out to dinner tonight!" She couldn't completely look over the iPhone box and what Makayla seemed focused on then, and when her eyes tuned in on that, her look instantly became more curious. "Bitch, when did you get a sugar daddy? Hook a sister up!" was her first reaction, knowing that the only way Makayla could afford something like that was if she was dabbling in that kind of relationship with someone with money.

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Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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"It's okay, I'll wait with you! I'm so excited. Isn't Cara so nice?!" Holly felt like she was already showing a tremendous amount of self-restraint by not grabbing the phone from Makayla's hand, as she started it up, so leaving the room was simply out of the question. Her mind was racing with everything that she wanted to do, once it started working. She used Makayla's phone whenever her sister would allow, to watch videos on Youtube or play Candy Crush, but Makayla's phone was older, with a severly cracked screen and a bad tendency of going from a 100% battery to a 10% one in a matter of minutes. That meant that Holly's access to it was even more limited, so she really didn't know the full capabilities of an iPhone, but was very excited in now being able to figure it all out.

"She is," Makayla agreed, and she did a good job at making it sound as pleasant as she wished it felt on the inside. "You're going to have to write a 'thank you' note for her and we'll leave it in her room, and then you can tell her 'thank you' in person too, when she comes back." It wasn't that she truly resented Cara for giving this to Holly, because Makayla was well aware that something like this could help her sister. It was just... Makayla couldn't put it into words, really, but it felt disrespectful for Cara to do something like this, and go over her head in such an obvious manner, without any prior warning. She wasn't even thinking about her own gift bag now, which sat on the floor by her feet, but when she got around to remembering it, she wouldn't even consider opening it up. Makayla didn't think that there was an iPhone in there too, but just knowing that Cara had spent this much on Holly made her not want to accept even a dollar's more worth of gifts from the blonde. She remembered the gift bag sooner than she thought she would though, when their bedroom door swung open and Aubree appeared. Her foot moved swiftly to pull the gift bag under the bed that she sat on, as if she thought that Aubree would be drawn to it immediately, which didn't happen, but Makayla was still glad that it was hidden for now.

"It's not from your dad, it's from Cara!" Holly was excited, even though she was very aware that she was talking to Aubree. For the moment, her energy couldn't even be squashed by the girl, but she did sit down on the bed right beside Makayla, in an unconscious attempt at gaining a bit of security, upon the girl's entrance. Bouncing slightly, she continued, "And it's for me! Cara got it for me for Christmas because she's friends with me and she wanted me to have presents from her on Christmas."

Holly interacting civilly with Aubree was a relief, and surprising, considering that last night, it really had seemed like nothing could keep Holly from instantly growing hostile in the girl's presence. She sighed without even realizing it when Aubree became more animated upon seeing the iPhone, only acting friendly as she called Makayla a bitch and asked if she had a sugar daddy, but doing so in a way that Makayla was too tired to really deal with on a similar level. In general, it was hard for her to be a "normal" twenty-two year old, so she wasn't used to playing into playful conversation like that anyway, on a regular basis. She didn't have any friends, really, at this point, and though there was a side of her that craved that level of interaction and companionship, it was something that she had also almost entirely given up on. Like a lot of things, she felt like she had sacrificed the ability to make and hold onto friendships when she took on the responsibility of Holly. She was too busy, too stressed, and "carrying too much baggage" for anyone her age to find any benefits in befriending her. "I'm going to make her something here. I don't want you wasting your money on that, Bree, especially if you're gonna be back on your own, or wherever you go, tonight." It was a direct reminder that Aubree had to get out soon. She was already overstaying her welcome. Actually, there wasn't even an initial welcome to overstay, but Makayla had told her that she had to be out by morning if she was going to stay anyway. It was moving into the late afternoon now and if Aubree did intend on staying for dinner, which Makayla knew she wouldn't have the heart to kick her out before, she needed to be out immediately after. Makayla didn't want to waste time going out to dinner, especially when she knew that it was very likely that Aubree "taking them out" to dinner would end in Makayla footing the bill. Aubree's credit card would decline, or she would claim that she only meant she was "taking them out" by choosing the restaurant, not paying for them, or maybe she would try to insist that they were all due for an adventure and dining and dashing would be fun. No matter what happened, Makayla knew that it was impossible for Aubree to take them out to dinner, and it would just be a waste of energy to even entertain it.

"Spaghetti! Wanna make spaghetti instead of grilled cheeses? I bet I could look up a recipe for how to spaghetti on my new iPhone!" It was a random dinner request for Holly, who was usually very consistent in requesting a certain handful of specific meals, and being picky if anything else was put on her plate, but it was the first thing that came to her mind. Unlike Thanksgiving, where certain foods seemed necessary for the traditional version of the holiday, Holly wasn't sure what people usually ate on Christmas, so her normal meals seemed satisfactory, especially when she was already overjoyed with her gifts. She hadn't even continued to look in the bag that Cara had given her, which still contained a wrapped outfit, because the iPhone itself was more exciting than she could have explained.

"Why don't you just go get dinner with whoever you're staying with tonight?" Makayla didn't answer Holly, though she placed a hand on the girl's leg as a notion of acknowledgment, and an unspoken request for her to settle down. She didn't want to have to be any more direct with Aubree than she was already being, but she also didn't want to let Aubree think that she was pulling one over on her, by still being here. "You should probably get going before it gets dark. Who knows if it's going to start snowing again tonight."

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Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Earlier that morning, Aubree had learned from Makayla that the girl she had seen last night was actually Brooklyn, and not Cara. Brooklyn hadn't introduced herself to Aubree by name the night before, and since she had only known Cara as being Makayla's white, blonde and rich roommate, it had been easy to assume that Brooklyn was who that was, the night before. She was even more intrigued by this faceless and mysterious Cara girl now that Aubree had received firsthand confirmation of the girl's wealth, via this very generous gift that Makayla was holding. If this roommate figure was wealthy enough to give Holly, someone who of all people, seemed completely undeserving, an iPhone, she really must have a surplus of expendable money. And that alone made her appetizing to Aubree. On one hand, Cara not being around made Aubree feel like she had more of a chance at convincing Makayla to let her stay. Even though Makayla was being more upfront than ever now, about Aubree having to leave soon, she still felt like she could convince her sister into letting her stay. At least for one more night. She did have Jeff as her alternative, and she did think that she was going to have to fall back on him at some point this week, but she felt like she could get one more night out of Makayla. It being Christmas helped, and if it actually did start snowing again, she thought that that would be even one more thing that would work in her favor, if she wanted to use the guilt-inducing card. Even if Cara did come back today, though, Aubree wouldn't have been upset. Since she thought the girl could be useful for her, she would turn on her charm and hopefully make a connection out of Cara. While Aubree struggled to retain friends for extended periods of time, it wasn't hard for her to make them quickly, and if they served a purpose to her, like a free room or free anything really, she usually put in enough effort to keep them around until she didn't need them anymore. If this girl was really capable at tossing iPhones to anyone she pitied, then Aubree felt like she could definitely put a friendship like that to use for a long time.

"If you're so insistent on kicking your sister out on Christmas, then fine, I'll just take my things with me, but we're going out to dinner. Please just let me do this one thing for you, Kay? Don't I get to have one good meal with you before I leave for who knows how long, considering that you never hit me up anymore?" She put on a pair of dramatic puppy eyes and clasped her hands together in a begging manner, as if to force the innocent posture to alleviate the twisted words she was saying. "It's only like a ten minute walk from here, and I know it's open today. Holly can use her new iPhone's map to guide us there." She hadn't acknowledged the girl before, despite her multiple interjections into the conversation, because she knew that anything she said would have come out with a biting undertone or a roll of her eyes, but engaging in Holly in a manipulative manner, like this, where she expected a level of enthusiasm that would get her on her side, and hopefully sway Makayla into agreeing too, seemed like a useful move here.

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Character Portrait: Makayla Wright Character Portrait: Holly Maddon Character Portrait: Aubree Wright Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Years ago, when Makayla was younger, both physically and mentally, she might have been sharper with Aubree. She would have been quicker to speak what she was actually feeling, rather than be the bigger person and keep her mouth shut. It's not worth it, she had to remind herself, when Aubree made a claim that the reason for why they didn't see each other often over the past few years was because Makayla didn't reach out. She wasn't lying in the fact that Makayla didn't reach out often. She had done so once, soon after their father was arrested and she was left essentially homeless with Holly. She had friends that she had stayed with in the immediate aftermath of losing their home, but she had overstayed her welcome at most places shortly before she and Holly moved into the apartment building, and before she found that as an option, she had reached out to Aubree. Not only was her sister no help in finding them a place to stay, but she had essentially brushed her off about it too, and it had rubbed Makayla the wrong way. Here she was, taking on the responsibility of caring for Holly who was no more biologically related to her than Aubree was to her, and her sister not only refused to help them, but couldn't even be nice about it. Then, on top of that, once Makayla had worked out her arrangement with the apartment building manager, where she traded her "services" for the rent that she couldn't come up with monetarily, Aubree reached out to her a couple of times, looking for a place to stay or some extra money that she "promised" to pay back. Each time, Makayla rejected her, because at that point, she really couldn't help Aubree, even if she wanted to. She was just barely scraping by as it was, and the studio apartment that she and Holly shared was already too small for even the two of them. Aubree knew that she her situation was the definition of someone who was struggling, and yet, it was somehow on her that they never hung out? While Aubree was out posting pictures at bars and clubs, Makayla was selling her body for the mere cost of a couple of drinks at said clubs, and somehow she was the villain in all of this.

Give me a fucking break. She was proud of herself for just being able to think that and not say it aloud, but she couldn't keep the strained, and growing-impatient look from reaching her face as she looked back up at Aubree. "It's cold out and I'm not leaving this apartment again today. If you want to order something, pick it up and bring it back here to eat before you go, that's fine, but I'm not eating at any restaurant tonight. Thanks, but no thanks." That in itself felt meaner than necessary, but Makayla saw through Aubree. She usually did, and though her conscience usually got the best of her, forcing her to just give in to her sister despite knowing that she was fake, tonight she wasn't in the mood. She had no patience for Aubree attempting to lure Holly into pestering Makayla about it by engaging her about her phone, as if the sudden shift in her reception towards Holly wouldn't make her intentions more than obvious.

"But she's right! My phone will be able to do that. It'll tell me directions like Cara's phone can do!" Holly was more excited about the idea of being able to use her phone (that she was still on the verge of snatching out of Makayla's hands out of excitement) than to get dinner with Aubree. Had it been anyone else suggesting it, then Holly would have automatically been on board. She would have been more excited about the change of scenery than the food she would be getting, since it would be fairly likely that she would just order something very typical like chicken fingers, macaroni and cheese, or pasta with butter, but the potential to see interesting people and have new things to talk about would have pushed her towards wanting to go. Plus, given today's gifts, she would have been all the more eager to go out into the cold to test out her new winter jacket and gloves. However, this was Aubree, and though Holly wasn't acting as standoffish towards the girl as she had been the night before, she still didn't feel comfortable around her. Not comfortable enough, at least, to want to go against what Makayla was saying and push for Aubree's plans. As unrealistic as the scenario was, she figured that if she did do that, Makayla might insist that she leave with Aubree to eat at the restaurant alone, and that came close to being downright scary for her. "She can just go home now, right? Because me and you are going to make grilled cheeses?" That same innate level of fear that she still associated with Aubree had her indirectly asking Aubree to leave, as she looked to Makayla, rather than just downright telling the girl to go herself.

As much as Makayla wanted to nod and say that it was now agreed on by both of them that Aubree was officially overstaying her welcome, she couldn't. She wished that she could, and that she had that in her, but she could already see a look of hurt that would appear on her sister's face, and she knew that for the rest of the night, she would beat herself up over doing that to her on Christmas. "No, she's gonna have dinner with us," Makayla stated with a shake of her head. Had Holly not been upfront about that, Makayla would have felt less guilty about showing Aubree the door, but she felt like she was in a position where she had to, now, defend Aubree's ability to stay for a little while longer, even if she was doing it in a way that definitely wasn't heartfelt. "And then she can go."